Monday, December 01, 2014

Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Murray Dobbin writes about the damage caused after decades of allowing the corporate elite to dictate economic policy - and notes that the Cons are determined to make matters all the worse:
However you see it -- as separate from society or integral to it -- Canada's "economy" is increasingly at the mercy of a risk-averse, inept corporate elite addicted to government tax breaks and an ideologically addled government which more than anything else is simply incompetent. It is a deadly combination -- a sort of dumb and dumber team slowly dragging us backwards at a time when the world is just hoping there won't be another economic collapse.
Is it even possible to change corporate culture or at least engage in a little behaviour modification? Do we -- that is the government -- have to treat our (ridiculously over-compensated) CEOs as adolescents to get them to deliver? After all, we have given them literally everything they have asked for, starting with the original free trade deal with the U.S., deliberately suppressed wages, a shredded safety net, and the gutting of regulations. None of it had any impact -- their performance has been getting worse for almost two decades.

So what does Stephen Harper do? He rewards corporate ineptness and irresponsibility by providing one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the 34-nation OECD. It doesn't matter that all this free money just goes into the cash reserves of the country's largest companies) now totalling over $600 billion). Why? Because Stephen Harper doesn't actually care if they invest in anything. The point of his tax cuts was never to stimulate investment -- it was to jettison government revenue in aid of dismantling the activist state and making it impossible for future governments to act.
- Meanwhile, Social Watch offers up an outline of the connection between tax fairness and gender equity. And Anna Chudnovsky discusses how poverty affects a child's development for a lifetime.

- Michael Geist notes that Canada was required to impose intellectual property laws opposed by the public before being allowed to participate in the TPP - raising the question as to how anybody can pretend we're not ceding massive amounts of sovereignty. And unfortunately, Barrie McKenna reports that Germany now seems set to meekly go along with the CETA despite its undue shift in power toward the corporate sector.

- Rick Salutin reminds us of the outsized role unaccountable state violence (particularly against minorities) has played in shaping U.S. culture. And Dan Leger writes that the Cons are following the path set by their cousins to the south in seeking to erode civil rights for political benefit.

- Finally, Michael Harris highlights Stephen Harper's deafening silence when it comes to the culture of corruption and law-breaking within his own party.

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